Dare to Ask: Can this marriage be saved?
By Phillip Milano
The Florida Times-Union
My fiancee told me shortly before our wedding that I was not the "man" who
could fulfill her. Our sex life now suffers. I've read books, got advice from
friends, sought help ... and all have done nothing. I know if I feel like a man
I'll treat her like one. But how? Will only a $30,000 to $50,000 surgery fix the
Jim, 26, Boulder, Colo.
This seems like the beginning of the end, homie.
Jim, 30, Columbus, Ohio
A better question is why a loving, creative partner isn't enough. Have you
ever thought maybe it isn't you?
Merry, 41, Atlanta
Your wife says you're not satisfying her. You not only listen to her, you
take total blame for this "problem" and try everything to please her. These are
not the actions of an immature individual or frat boy; this is a man trying to
take action. This should not make you feel stupid or ashamed. Every couple has
trouble adjusting to their new life together. Have you tried asking her what,
exactly, she wants? If that doesn't work, try a professional.
Katie, Lexington, Ky.
Confidence is everything.
Bethany, 24, Michigan
Dump that b---- and find a woman you can satisfy.
Kofi, Jersey City, N.J.
You said that once you feel like a man you'll treat her like one. Does that
mean you'd likely punch her in the eye and make her do dishes? Preferably not.
... Being comfortable in your ability to be yourself -- that's a true man.
Steven, 25, Houston
You deserve better.
Kelly, 27, Houston
We don't have much space, so we'll conveniently skip the "how-to" advice and
the surgery stuff, thank you very much, and focus on the
how-in-creation-could-things-get-to-this-point part. (Whew.)
"Somebody decides they need something they don't have, but they avoid talking
about it," said Suzanna Hill-egass, a Virginia sex therapist. "But in this case,
it's like me saying to my hubby, 'I want you to be 6 inches taller.' It doesn't
Instead of trying to change someone, discuss how you can get more of a need
fulfilled -- and in this case, that means talking about stimulation, she said.
"It's not rocket science."
If the problem is left to fester, then the man's hurt will lead him to think
there's something fundamentally wrong with himself, and he'll withdraw
physically, Hillegass said.
"And in our culture everything is ... driven to a quick fix. Instead it
should be something we talk about, work through. It's a great opportunity
Her advice to this couple is to realize that being intimate is multi-faceted
and is about having a "more whole experience," she said.
"But he also needs to pay attention. This may not be a match made in heaven.
Can they take this on as a challenge that he wants to satisfy her, and that she
needs to learn to be satisfied with him how he is? Is she willing to work on
this with him?"
That'd be a labor of love.
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Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
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